Salon Waste – The Environmental Impact

By Judith Stapleton

Photos By Richard Dubois: hair & make-up, Gianluca Orienti,

CLEARlife is dedicated to all the ways we can reduce our impact on the environment. And so, lately, we were thinking about hair. Here’s what we discovered.

Alarmingly, the majority of salon waste, such as hair colour and foils, ends up down the drain and in our water supply, or in the trash headed to a landfill.

While some industries have access to paid recycling for paper and plastic, the bulk of salon waste—hair itself, metals, excess chemicals, and much more—has always been destined for the trash bin and sink drain.

Here are some scary facts from salons across North America:

  • 69,180 lb. of hair clippings get swept up in salons every day.
  • 42,122 lb. of hair colour gets chucked out, every day.
  • 109,512 lb. of foil and colour tubes get discarded every day.
  • 206,392 lb. of waste paper and various bottles go into the bin, daily.

In other words, over 427,206 pounds of salon waste are left behind as we walk out the door with our new hair do. And here’s a creepy fact: hair left sealed in garbage bags in a landfill will mummify over time, giving off methane gas!